Launch question

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Aug 20, 2003
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Since I'm still new and haven't found the answer, has anyone tried to do simultaneous launches? I just picked up another launcher from Micheals clearance rack and thought about launching two Alphas with my kids, see which flies higher, lands closer, etc. Can't think of any real safety problems other than a mid-air collision if they were too close, but I would put them a little apart. Just wondering if anyone had any experience with this and could offer some insight into possible risk management.



You use a whip clip. This is basically two "Y" sections of wire you use to split up the ignitions leads from one launch controller to two rockets. These are also used for multi-engine cluster rockets.

You can get the wire and alligator clips from your local Radio Shack, or John at ThrustAero has them already made up.

As far as safety goes...this is done all the time. Just be sure to have 5-10 feet between the launch pads. Note: A standard Estes Electron launch controller may not have enough juice to do this. It works great with a 12volt system.

You gotta love drag racing rockets!


Put a bit of space between the two pads to reduce collision risk.

If you've got two launch controllers use one for each rocket, there'll be some scope for cheating though! :D If you want one launch button for both rockets John's suggestion is good but as he noted the 4 x AA aren't really enough. I tried launching two rockets with one with brand new batteries, it was pretty pathetic as one model launched then it was another two seconds untill the second went! Illustrates why you *need* a high power system for clusters.
We launch five at a time occasionally and the rods are only about 8 inches apart. Never had a problem.

If the kids are drag racing, and you are using two controllers, the impartial observer (you) should push both at the same time.
I've seen Estes drag races rockets were only about 8" apart, no problem. Drag racing rocks!!
Actually, I plan to launch my camera rocket straight up on a completely calm day and try to get a picture of another rocket taking off towards it. I know it's a crazy idea and a one in a million shot, but it would be really cool if it worked right?:D :cool:
Not crazy at all! Ray Dunakin does it quite regularly, on MPR and HPR too! Whenever we have a big launch, his camera birds usually go up just before the big ones go.

Originally posted by wwattles
Not crazy at all! Ray Dunakin does it quite regularly, on MPR and HPR too! Whenever we have a big launch, his camera birds usually go up just before the big ones go.


Oooooh, do you know where I can find pics?
I've been wondering about this for sometime.... Does drag racing violate any NAR regs?
I dont think that drag racing breaks any NAR regulations !
Another way of drag racing is to wire both rocket motors up with Quickmatch , then attach a ignitor to both ends of the Quickmatch , so when you push the launch button , both rockets ignite at the same time :D ;)
Drag racing is an NAR contest event. It's kind of hard to violate regulations of a National Sanctioned contest event that has it's own set of rules in the "Pink Book".
Drag race is a heat elimination event..Its a lot of fun. I used to do this with the Cub and Boy Scouts quite a bit. I even built a special "drag race tandom drag race launcher with dual contestant launch buttons and a master control panel... but a dual clip whip will do with a good battery supply and contorller.
Scoring each drag race heat, the judges award 1 point each for "first motion, Lowest altitude, and longest duration. The contestant with the most points for the heat, moves on to the next round until the last 2 contestants face off in the final round. most points in the final heat wins.
So you see there really is some strategy involved as well as actually building a model for the event. Depending on the number of contestants and/or heats your can burn up a lot of motors and an afternoon really fast with this event, but it really is a lot of fun:D
I remember one very enterprising fellow that flew a very short stubby rocket with 4 folded 20 foot long streamers attached to the extended outside tips of the fins. He won all 3 points in his first 4 heats, but lost a streamer in the fifth. Talk about building for the event!

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